Saturday, September 30, 2006
At the MKE "E" checkpoint I placed my laptop in one bin, and my shoes, cell phone and quart bag in a second bin. The TSA guy who was pushing bags and bins into the X-ray machine took a good hard look, and then as the bag when though the X-ray I think he told the X-ray operator to call for a bag check/explosive swab on my roller bag to slow me down. He went strait to the TSA Supervisor on duty and boy did he come marching over to the checkpoint with fire in his eyes!Hat tip to Tim Lee at the Technology Liberation Front.
He grabbed the baggie as it came out of the X-ray and asked if it was mine. After responding yes, he pointed at my comment and demanded to know "What is this supposed to mean?" "It could me a lot of things, it happens to be an opinion on mine." "You can't write things like this" he said, "You mean my First Amendment right to freedom of speech doesn't apply here?" "Out there (pointing pass the id checkers) not while in here (pointing down) was his response."
At this point I chuckled, just looking at him wondering if he just realized how foolish that comment was, but I think my laugh pushed him over the edge as he got really angry at this point. A Milwaukee County Sheriffs deputy was summoned - I would have left at this point, but he had my quart bag with my toothpaste and hair gel.
When the deputy got over the TSA supervisor showed him the bag and told him what had happened to that point. After he had finished I started to remind him he had left out his statement that my First Amendment rights didn't apply "here" but was cut off by the deputy who demanding my ID. I asked if I was under arrest, and his response was "Right now you are not under arrest, you are being detained." I produced my passport and he walked off with it and called in my name to see if I had any outstanding warrants, etc. The TSA supervisor picked up the phone about 20 feet away and called someone? At this point two more officers were near by and I struck up a conversation with the female officer who was making sure I kept put. I explained to her who Kip Hawley was, why I though he was an idiot, and my surprise that the TSA Supervisor felt my First Amendment rights didn't' apply at the TSA checkpoint. She didn't say much.
After he was assured I didn't have any warrants out the first office came back and I had my first chance to really speak, I explained that I was just expressing my opinion and my writing should be protected my by First Amendment rights. When he didn't respond, I then repeated that the TSA Supervisor stated my First Amendment rights didn't apply at the TSA check point and I asked if he (the deputy) agreed that was the case. He responded by saying "You can't yell fire in a crowed theater, there are limits to your rights.
At this point I chucked again.
I asked how this was even remotely like shouting "Fire" in a crowd, and his answer was "Perhaps your comments made them feel threatened."
At about this point the TSA Supervisor finished up his phone call, and summoned the officer back over. They talked for about 2 minutes, and then both came back over. The officer pulled out his pad and asked for my address and I asked why he needed it. "For the report I have to file since I was summoned here" I started to give it, when I noticed the TSA Supervisor was writing it down as well, so I stopped and asked why he needed it. He said he needed to file an incident report too, and I took the opportunity to ask what the resolution of the incident was, did I do anything wrong? Are you going to ask the officer to arrest me? He said no, I was free to go, but he was going to confiscate my bag. I asked "If I did nothing wrong, why would you take my bag" He pointed to a posted sign that said something about reusing plastic bags (the MKE TSA was providing quart sized zipper bags to pax today) I let him know that I had brought my bag from home and would not be letting him take it. He then asked for permission of photograph it, which I agreed too.
While he walked away to get the camera I finished giving my address to the deputy, and he told my "You're free to go" Total time, about 25 minutes.
CNN's given coverage to the story. Also see kiphawleyisanidiot.com.
Although I wasn’t completely convinced then, I think it’s getting a lot more difficult to question the evidence now.
The graph below chronicles Maricopa County’s Trustee Sale Notices over the past 11 years. The blue line is the monthly count. As you can see, this number is pretty variable from month to month, so I’ve included the orange line, which is a 1-year moving average. Presumably it’s a better indicator of trends.Here are some descriptive statistics for the numbers in the graph:
Given that the past decade saw the bursting of the tech bubble, I think the mean is being skewed high, and thus the median and the mode are probably better indicators of a “normal” month in Maricopa County.
Friday, September 29, 2006
And they did nothing about it.
UPDATE September 30, 2006: Alexander notified Rep. John Shimkus (R-Illinois), who says "We ordered Congressman Foley to cease all contact with this former House page to avoid even the appearance of impropriety." Also informed was Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), who blocked a vote yesterday on a resolution from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calling for a preliminary investigation into the matter and the Republican leadership's response to it by the House Ethics Committee. Boehner nixed the latter part, and a motion was passed to investigate Foley's conduct but not the Republican leadership's handling of the matter.
It's also now been verified that Dennis Hastert was told about this issue "months ago".
This guy was chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. It looks like he may be prosecuted under laws he helped pass.
The timing of this resignation is such that the Republicans will probably not be able to replace Foley's name on the ballot. (For more details, see here.)
Another dirty Republican politician down, a bunch more to go.
That's an admission of acting contrary to their oath of office. Neither of these men is fit to serve.
(A previous post on the Military Commissions Act and Arizona Representatives' votes on it is here.)
Ralph Reed contacted Karl Rove on behalf of Jack Abramoff to kill the nomination of Angela Williams to a post at the Department of the Interior which would have had oversight over Abramoff client the Northern Mariana Islands.
Mehlman, Reed, and Rove belong in jail with Abramoff.
(See also this previous account of Mehlman and Rove ties to Abramoff.)
Posted by Jim Lippard at 9/29/2006 07:15:00 PM
Edelman calls out four particularly notorious sites that have or have had TRUSTe certification: Direct-Revenue.com, Funwebproducts.com, Maxmoolah.com, and Webhancer.com. All four are heavily involved with spyware. Direct Revenue and Maxmoolah have had their TRUSTe certifications revoked, but should never have been certified in the first place if TRUSTe was doing the validation they should have been doing.
TRUSTe has long been criticized by anti-spammers for giving certifications to organizations that don't deserve them.
Ryan Singel has raised similar questions about TRUSTe's reliability.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Hundreds of contacts between top White House officials and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates "raise serious questions about the legality and actions" of those officials, according to a draft bipartisan report prepared by the House Government Reform Committee.
The 95-page report, which White House officials reviewed Wednesday evening but has yet to be formally approved by the panel, singled out two of President Bush¹s top lieutenants, Karl Rove and Ken Mehlman, as having been offered expensive meals and exclusive tickets to premier sporting events and concerts by Abramoff and his associates.
In total, the committee was able to document 485 contacts between White House officials and Abramoff and his lobbying team at the firm Greenberg Traurig from January 2001 to March 2004, with 82 of those contacts occuring in Rove's office, including 10 with Rove personally. The panel also said that Abramoff billed his clients nearly $25,000 for meals and drinks with these officials during that period.
UPDATE September 29, 2006: The New York Times has picked up the story with more details, some of which are also reported in TPM Muckraker.
Both of Arizona's Senators (John McCain and Jon Kyl) voted for the bill, S. 3930.
Arizona's Representatives voted as follows on the detainment bill, H.R. 6166 (the Senate bill is S. 3930):
Jeff Flake (R-District 6)
Trent Franks (R-District 2)
J.D. Hayworth (R-District 5)
Jim Kolbe (R-District 8)
Rick Renzi (R-District 1)
John Shadegg (R-District 3)
Raul Grijalva (D-District 7)
Ed Pastor (D-District 4)
Once again, a completely partisan vote in which the Republicans demonstrate their disregard for this constitutional republic. You can find the complete House vote results here.
UPDATE September 29, 2006: Ed Brayton has more at Dispatches from the Culture Wars.
The founders of this country would have found this grounds for revolution.
UPDATE October 1, 2006: I fully expect the courts to overturn this, since the U.S. Constitution allows only two conditions for the temporary suspension of habeas corpus in Article I, Section 9 ("when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it").
It is also worth noting that there is some simplification, above. The designation of "unlawful enemy combatant" (UEC) in the bill is made by "a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense."
Also see Richard Epstein's testimony to the Senate (PDF) urging them to kill this bill, which they disregarded.
In a tightknit neighborhood, where people’s social lives often revolve around their churches, Beulah Penn and her daughter, Sharon, were well-connected and trusted. Beulah Penn was a lay minister in a local church; her daughter, Sharon Penn, dressed hair.The Penns persuaded friends and members of their church to join an "investment club" to purchase homes in Indiana. They were told they didn't have to contribute any money, but would be paid $2,000. The scammers arranged to purchase homes at market rates, get bogus inflated appraisals and mortgages at the higher amount, then pay the market rate for the home and divert the rest of the funds to themselves.
Using these connections, according to a recent lawsuit, the two women and another relative in Indianapolis perpetrated one of the largest mortgage frauds in American history, victimizing dozens of local residents and, according to sources with knowledge of the accusations, at least $40 million in fraudulent loans — perhaps even twice that amount.
“Looking back, maybe it sounded too good to be true, but everyone knew them, and my friends went to church with them, people I been knowing for 10 years,” said Timothy Jacobs, a 29-year-old worker in a fiber-optics factory who discovered recently that he owed $200,000 on two houses in Indiana. “They said they’d be responsible for everything. Now everyone’s probably going to end up filing for bankruptcy.”
One of those who joined the "investment club" found out about how the scam worked when he was turned down for a $1,000 loan from his credit union to buy Christmas presents--he discovered he owned five homes in Indiana with mortgages adding up to nearly $1 million, all of which were in default.
I expect a lot more cases like this will make the news as the housing market continues to decline.
Thank you for expressing your views about the issue of flag desecration. I share your concern in this matter.Senator McCain states that "Tolerating desecration of the flag is silent acquiescence to the degeneration of the broader values which sustain us as a free and democratic nation." But this completely ignores the fact that it is not only possible but certain that voices will loudly speak out in criticism of flag desecration--that's not silent acquiescence, that's fighting bad speech with good speech, which is the whole point of the First Amendment.
I believe we have an inviolable duty to protect the right of free speech--one of our most precious inalienable rights and the linchpin of a healthy democracy. I do not believe, however, that guaranteeing respect for our national symbol by prohibiting "acts" of desecration impinges on political "speech."
As long as citizens are free to speak out on any matter and from whatever point of view they wish, as our forefathers intended, it does not seem burdensome to me that we accord some modicum of respect to the symbol of those precious freedoms for which so many of our countrymen have laid down their lives.
Some view these efforts to protect the flag as political demogoguery or empty symbolism, unworthy of the attention it receives. I see the issue differently. The flag represents each and every one of us, regardless of race, religion or political point of view. It is a point of unity in the midst of our great diversity. Tolerating desecration of the flag is silent acquiescence to the degeneration of the broader values which sustain us as a free and democratic nation--the ramifications of which are far more profound than mere symbolism.
For these reasons, I have support [sic] a constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration. I voted for such language in previous Congresses, but unfortunately, the tally has always fallen short of the 67 affirmative votes necessary for approval. Additionally, I have cosponsored legislation to statutorily provide protection for the flag in a manner that will be upheld by the Supreme Court.
Again, thank you for your interest in this important issue. I hope you will continue to share your views with me on this or any other matter of concern to you and our nation.
United States Senator
McCain explicitly recognizes that the flag is a symbol. It's a symbol that can be represented in art, language, binary data, and a Penn and Teller illusion. (Penn & Teller's illusion raises the question of whether the symbolic desecration of a symbol is any different from an actual desecration of a symbol.) To place limits on the contexts that symbol can be placed in or on transformations of that symbol is to place limits on free expression, and to place limits on the principle of freedom of speech that lies behind the First Amendment.
By his willingness to make a special exception for this symbol, McCain is doing damage to a constitutional principle. His position on this issue is just as wrong as his position on trying to protect government from the consequences of violating the First Amendment in his vote for the PERA Act, and just as contrary to his oath of office.
Arizona Representatives who voted for reducing penalties and deterrence for unconstitutional theocracy by voting for the PERA Bill:
Jeff Flake (R-District 6)
Trent Franks (R-District 2)
J.D. Hayworth (R-District 5)
Jim Kolbe (R-District 8)
Rick Renzi (R-District 1)
John Shadegg (R-District 3)
Those who voted consistently with their oaths of office by voting against the PERA Bill:
Raul Grijalva (D-District 7)
Ed Pastor (D-District 4)
That's a partisan vote, and the Republicans continue to express their disregard for the U.S. Constitution and religious liberty.
You can find the full House roll call here.
For further information on this bill, see Ed Brayton's commentary at Dispatches from the Culture Wars.
This proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution preserves “marriage” as only consisting of the union of one man and one woman, and prohibits creating or recognizing any legal status for unmarried persons that is similar to that of marriage.Arizona statutes already prohibit gay marriage, several times over. ARS 25-101 (C) says "Marriage between persons of the same sex is void and prohibited." ARS 25-112 says that marriages in other states are valid in Arizona, except for those that violate ARS 25-101--so Arizona refuses to recognize gay marriages from Massachusetts, for example. ARS 25-125 (A) says "A valid marriage is contracted by a male person and a female person with a proper marriage license who participate in a ceremony conducted by and in the presence of a person who is authorized to solemnize marriages and at which at least two witnesses who are at least eighteen years of age participate."
Now, I think it's absurd to argue that gay marriage harms marriage, but let's leave that claim aside. Look at the latter part of this proposed constitutional amendment--it says that "NO LEGAL STATUS FOR UNMARRIED PERSONS SHALL BE CREATED OR RECOGNIZED BY THIS STATE OR ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS THAT IS SIMILAR TO THAT OF MARRIAGE." This is a very vague and potentially very broad statement--"similar to" is a comparative, it comes in degrees. But no degree of similarity (even supposing that it came in easily measurable units) is defined here. The advocates of this kind of legislation have already demonstrated elsewhere that they mean to include civil unions and domestic partnerships in this, whether they involve same-sex couples or heterosexual couples. They could also use this wording to fight against benefits for domestic partnerships, custody contracts, wills, guardianship agreements, and so forth, where unmarried couples are involved. And no doubt they will--this amendment is backed by people like nutty theocrat Len Munsil (his organization drafted it), who opposed the 2001 repeal of Arizona's law that prohibited unmarried couples of the opposite sex from living in the same house or apartment, even if only as roommates.
The exact same battle is occurring in Virginia.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
In 2004, the group's Form 990 shows $1,441,177 in revenue and $1,380,839 in expenses. Of that, Munsil, as president, received $209,250 in salary, $30,430 in benefits, and $7,450 in expenses. Executive VP Gary Paisley received $82,060 in salary and $6,660 (interesting amount!) in benefits. Director of Policy Cathi Herrod received $100,986 in compensation and $1,680 to benefit plans/deferred compensation. Director of Research David B. Frese received $59,380 in compensation and $16,848 to benefit plans/deferred compensation, and Legal Counsel Peter Gentala received $50,000 in compensation and $18,528 to benefit plans/deferred compensation. The Form 990s are only required to list compensation over $50,000, but the above adds up to $583,272, or over 40% of the group's revenue (and over 42% of expenses) for the year. Munsil alone received over 17% of the group's revenue (and nearly 18% of its total expenses).
In 2003, the Form 990 shows $1,127,825 in revenue and $1,085,812 in expenses. Munsil received $181,925 in salary (which means he got a hefty 15% salary increase from 2003 to 2004), $25,942 in benefits, and $3,817 in expenses. Paisley received $80,486 in salary, $5,988 in benefits. Herrod received $87,448 in compensation and $1,548 in deferred benefits. Frese received $52,250 in compensation and $14,472 in deferred benefits. The total here is $453,876, or just over 40% of revenue (and almost 42% of expenses), with Munsil receiving nearly 19% of the revenue (and over 19% of the expenses).
In 2002, it was $1,067,417 in revenue and $1,001,277 in expenses, of which Munsil collected $156,402 in salary (which means he got a 16% raise from 2002 to 2003), $22,708 in benefits, and $4,500 in expenses. Paisley got $77,000 in salary and $5,296 in benefits. Cathi Herrod got $62,090 in compensation and $1,116 in deferred benefits, and "Lit Counsel" Gary McCaleb got $63,083 in compensation and $9,764 in deferred benefits. That's $401,959, or just over 36% of revenue (40% of expenses), with Munsil taking over 17% (over 18% of expenses).
The Len Munsil Facts website points out that in 1997, the group's first year, Munsil's salary was more than half of its revenue. I don't have easy Internet access to the 1997-2001 Form 990s without paying a fee, but I suspect that's because the group's revenue was much lower. In any case, it is clear that Munsil has collected a hefty salary and generous annual raises from his nonprofit group. No doubt he now makes more as an attorney at Mueller & Drury, a firm specializing in divorce and personal injury cases, a firm which Munsil worked with to successfully appeal a ruling that permitted state funding for medically necessary abortions in the face of a statute that prohibited it (Munsil's group and Mueller & Drury were attorneys for members of the state legislature who filed amici curiae briefs in the case, Simat Corp et al. v. AHCCS).
Look, Democrats--use accurate information about Munsil to discredit him (of the sort that's on the Len Munsil Facts website), and do so openly, rather than using deceptively-named groups like the "Arizona Conservative Trust." If Munsil manages to come from far behind and win this election, the Democratic Party's actions will be partly to blame.
The Arizona Conservative Trust also paid for anti-Munsil pre-recorded telemarketing calls before the September 12 primaries.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Domain Name (Unknown)
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Friday, September 22, 2006
The Mars Express orbiter has taken some new images of the so-called "Face on Mars" which were released to the public yesterday. Not surprisingly, they don't provide any support for the claim that this feature of Mars is an artifact.
(Hat tip to Dave Palmer on the SKEPTIC mailing list for the link.)
Posted by Jim Lippard at 9/22/2006 08:13:00 AM
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Ellen Simon, a Democratic Party candidate from Sedona running against corrupt politician Rick Renzi in Arizona's District 1, has "protecting the environment" on her list of issues, but she's also pushing Napolitano's "lower gas prices" petition. Why, Ellen? (BTW, thanks for the link to my Renzi/Hayworth post.)
Hat tip to stranger fruit.
Radley Balko reports that he feels like he's been watching a movie attending the hearings--no doubt this story will become a book or a movie.
Also check out Balko's update on the informant whose testimony caused Maye's duplex to be raided by police in the first place.
Posted by Jim Lippard at 9/21/2006 04:46:00 PM
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
More detail and photos at Pharyngula.
Posted by Jim Lippard at 9/20/2006 03:59:00 PM
They've gone back to some of Munsil's State Press editorials to find Munsil railing against student protests against apartheid in South Africa, calling it a "madness ... afflicting college students around the nation."
So far, they are missing Munsil's position opposing the decriminalization of cohabitation and oral sex in Arizona.
UPDATE: Munsil has complained about the "Arizona Conservative Trust" to the Clean Elections Commission, and his campaign is questioning who the donors are supporting it. An Arizona Republic article quotes Republican sleazebag and Munsil campaign consultant Nathan Sproul saying, "Who are the donors who are funding this thing? ... They are engaging in a pretty offensive money-laundering operation."
Sproul, former head of the Arizona Republican Party and the Arizona Christian Coalition, runs Sproul & Associates, which engaged in voter registration scams in multiple states prior to the 2004 election. Sproul set up groups that would represent themselves as nonpartisan "get out the vote" organizations in order to get Republicans registered to vote and discard or deter Democratic voter registrations. In addition to supporting Munsil, he also has worked on campaigns for U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, a former Arizona legislator who was a single-issue (anti-abortion) candidate. Sproul has received significant funding from the Republican National Committee to engage in dirty tricks.
I agree with the Munsil campaign's statement that the name "Arizona Conservative Trust" is misleading and deceptive, especially if (as seems likely) there are Democratic Party members behind the effort. I also condemn the prerecord telemarketing pseudo-surveys that have been done ("push polls") regarding Munsil--it's a sleazy tactic.
As Ed points out, this is not a violation of the establishment clause of the Constitution (or the Arizona Constitution's prohibition on state funds being used to promote religion) because no state funds are going directly to any religious organization.
I support the Institute for Justice on this issue, and this is a reason I've never given funds to the AzCLU (though I support the ACLU Foundation).
I am a beneficiary of the individual state tax credit--I annually make the maximum qualifying contribution to the Arizona School Choice Trust, which is the single most efficient charity I donate to (100% of donations are distributed as tuition payments for students from low-income families; salaries for employees and administrative overhead are paid by another private organization).
UPDATE (June 7, 2007): Judge Janet Barton granted the Institute for Justice's motion to dismiss this case, back in March.
UPDATE (March 12, 2009): The Institute for Justice won this case again today in the Arizona Court of Appeals.
Posted by Jim Lippard at 9/20/2006 09:13:00 AM
The other Congressmen on the list, with links to more information:
- Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)
- Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN)
- Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)
- Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
- Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
- Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)
- Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL)
- Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL)
- Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA)
- Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
- Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA)
- Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV)
- Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO)
- Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA)
- Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)
- Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
- Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY)
- Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)
- Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
- Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA)
- Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT)
- Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
- Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ)
- Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)
- Rep. Don Sherwood (R-PA)
Hat tip to Dispatches from the Culture Wars.
The 29-year-old Tempe resident came to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia in 1996 under a student visa. He describes himself as "extremely secular. I was the president of my university. I have a commitment to everything America stands for, women's rights to civil rights." But because he married a U.S. citizen and they agreed to divorce in August, the divorce process invalidated his pending green card application.
And because his passport and citizenship are from Yemen, the country where his father was born but which he's never been in, that's where he will be deported to. His attorney says he can stay in detention in Eloy and fight the deportation for six months to "years," he can allow himself to be deported to Yemen and try to get a student visa to return to finish his degree, or if his wife stops the divorce process he would be allowed to stay.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
3. The fake expert
4. Impossible expectations
5. The metaphor
6. The quote mine
7. Appeal to consequences
I recommend reading both the Give Up Blog's original list and descriptions and Pharyngula's extended list.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Can you identify our approximate location from this sign (extra points for identifying the actual municipality)? It's not San Francisco (which has a Lippard Ave. in the Glen Park neighborhood). The answer will come after we return to Phoenix in a couple days. (And if anyone in SF has a photo of a Lippard Ave. sign, I'd like to have one of those...)
UPDATE (January 23, 2007): Diebold helpfully displays a photograph of the key on their website--which is sufficient to make a duplicate that works.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Cory Maye is a black man in Missouri whose door was kicked in in the middle of the night in a no-knock raid, who killed Officer Jones in the raid. Maye was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death even though the prosecution's account contained inconsistencies, there was no legitimate reason for Maye's apartment in the duplex to be raided, and Maye says he did not know the person breaking into his apartment was a police officer--he thought he was defending himself and his young daughter. There have been many posts on this blog, mostly referring to the excellent work by Radley Balko, who first brought this case to public attention. Wikipedia now has a pretty good entry on Cory Maye, and there is a website, www.mayeisinnocent.com.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
South Carolina has flown away after releasing flares over the Atlantic Ocean. Smoke from the flare salvo reveals a crisp, dramatic, startling, and
beautiful visual of the turbulent air – including two vortices each with an "eye" – created by the C-17 Globemaster III as it flies through the air.
May 16, 2006, Over the Atlantic Ocean Near Charleston, State of South Carolina, USA."
(Hat tip: Jerry Goodenough on the SKEPTIC mailing list.)
The government spent $42.7 million on this study, but the results were not what was wanted, so it ignored them, spending another $220 million on anti-marijuana advertisements in 2005 and 2006. Although the report was delivered to the government in February 2005, NIDA claimed it was delivered in June 2006. The General Accountability Office, in attempting to review the study, met resistance from NIDA and the White House. News of the study and its conclusions became public in August, and the government responded that it was no longer valid because it was old data. More details in Ryan Grim's article at Slate.
The results of this study are quite similar to the results of studies of the federal DARE program, which has also been well-established to have either no measurable effect or be somewhat counter-productive. It continues because it creates the appearance of doing something to address a problem, not because it does anything actually beneficial. It's make-believe federal make-work, yet another theater performance that wastes tax dollars while providing the illusion of benefits.
Hat tip to Jack Kolb on the SKEPTIC list.
UPDATE 19 September 2006: Ed Brayton has picked up this story at his blog.
Posted by Jim Lippard at 9/09/2006 11:08:00 AM
More than 98 percent of all of the marijuana plants seized by law enforcement in the United States is feral hemp not cultivated cannabis, according to newly released data by the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program and the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics.A single recent example from Prescott, Arizona was where two seniors watering an "attractive weed" between their residences were surprised to learn from a Yavapai County Sheriff's Deputy that they were cultivating marijuana.
According to the data, available online at: http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/pdf/t4382005.pdf, of the estimated 223 million marijuana plants destroyed by law enforcement in 2005, approximately 219 million were classified as "ditchweed," a term the agency uses to define "wild, scattered marijuana plants [with] no evidence of planting, fertilizing, or tending." Unlike cultivated marijuana, feral hemp contains virtually no detectable levels of THC, the psychoactive component in cannabis, and does not contribute to the black market marijuana trade.
Previous DEA reports have indicated that between 98 and 99 percent of all the marijuana plants eradicated by US law enforcement is ditchweed.
(Hat tip to Dave Palmer on the SKEPTIC mailing list, who offers the comment that it looks like the War on Drugs is going about as well as the War on Terror.)
Months before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld forbade military strategists from developing plans for securing a post-war Iraq, the retiring commander of the Army Transportation Corps said Thursday.Rumsfeld should be held accountable for the thousands of deaths this choice has caused.
In fact, said Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, Rumsfeld said "he would fire the next person" who talked about the need for a post-war plan.
Friday, September 08, 2006
As I expected—can it be otherwise for a mass-market essayist?–he panders to his audience, which is after all predominantly religious. (Adler notes that a recent Newsweek poll found that 92 percent of Americans believe in God and only 37 would vote for an atheist for President.) He does a fair job of summarizing the “highly inflammatory” arguments of Dennett/Dawkins/Harris, namely, that religions make false and contradictory claims and spur people to commit destructive acts. But Adler not-so-subtly distances himself from the skeptics’ viewpoints.P.Z. Myers has are more detailed critique of the Newsweek piece here.
And what is Adler really saying here? Just this: we must give a pass to delusional beliefs that are held sincerely by millions of people, especially if they are Newsweek subscribers. I have my differences with Dawkins et al, but I admire their courage, especially compared to the cowardice that afflicts pop-culture intellectuals like Adler when they write about religion.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I've previously written about Munsil here, where I describe how he refused to print a letter to the editor I wrote criticizing factual errors in an editorial he wrote in the State Press.
You can find out more about Munsil and his supporters and detractors at this Arizona Republic blog entry, "Munsil: I'm a Reagan, Kyl-style Republican." I've left a number of comments there.
Randy Graf, who is the current front-runner for the nomination, issued a joint press release with the other Republican candidates (minus Huffman) condemning Mehlman and the RNC for their dishonesty and broken promise.
Huffman has criticized Graf for being slow to fire a campaign manager who had a conviction for "corrupting young girls" but has in turn been embarrassed by allegations that his own campaign treasurer, Bill Arnold, took photos through the windows of the home of Huffman's ex-wife, state senator Toni Hellon. The photos were used to create a website apparently designed to discredit her if Huffman were to have run against her for her state legislative position. Hellon has sued Arnold for invasion of privacy, but apparently supports her ex-husband's nomination.
Graf is also a member of the Minuteman Project.
District 8 is fairly evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, with the former having about a 5% advantage. Looks like it will be a dirty race.
Barraza keeps up a nearly continuous stream of verbal abuse after pouring a bottle of water on the camera, hitting Mattes in the face with it, stealing a microphone from the cameraman, and threatening to get a gun and to send Mattes to Tijuana or Ensenada.
Posted by Jim Lippard at 9/06/2006 06:43:00 PM
Monday, September 04, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
This posting led to a short debate with science writer Andrew Skolnick, who strongly disagreed with me--his opinion was that Holocaust deniers should get nothing but ridicule, and no one should bother trying to respond to them. I think this is the wrong approach to Holocaust denial, the wrong approach to creationism, the wrong approach to 9/11 conspiracy theories, and the wrong approach to Scientology, for reasons I give below. I do agree that it can be a bad idea to give advocates of crackpottery wider exposure or a respectable forum, but there are plenty of fora on the Internet and elsewhere where these bad ideas should be responded to with good and accurate information.
| James J. Lippard |
|Fri, Sep 24 1999 12:00 am|
|lipp...@discord.org (James J. Lippard) |
I first encountered claims that the Holocaust never happened sometime during my undergraduate years in college. At that time, I had recently abandoned the religious faith of my family, and I had gone from being a somewhat gullible believer to a somewhat militant atheist. I felt that I had been betrayed by authority figures in my life, and I set out to find the facts for myself. I was prepared to find that "everything I know is wrong."
Fortunately, my first exposure to Holocaust deniers was on the GEnie online service, where there were some extremely well-informed people responding to the Holocaust deniers with facts. For me, the sometimes emotional appeals were the kinds of argumentative techniques I had come to distrust, and those who clearly had facts at their disposal were the ones to be relied upon. While the Holocaust deniers tried to present themselves as being cool, dispassionate observers presenting the hard facts, it quickly became obvious that their collection of facts was similar to the collection of facts of creationists which I had been fooled by earlier in my life.
I've never spent a whole lot of effort on examining the history of the Holocaust, primarily because I was devoting my effort to other things, and because I saw that people like Ken McVay, Jamie McCarthy, and Danny Keren on alt.revisionism seemed to have things well in hand. (My big "bogus" issues which I've done a large amount of research on are creationism and Scientology; the patterns of delusion and deception seem to be pretty much the same.)
What has prompted me to write this is that I fear that there may be others here who are in a situation like I was when I first encountered this stuff. This present discussion seems to be dominated by emotional responses and namecalling, by claims that Holocaust deniers are Nazis, that they should be silenced, driven off, or even thrown in jail. I suspect that I would have taken the Holocaust deniers much more seriously in my younger days if that had been the nature of the responses to them on the GEnie service. Those of you are responding in that manner, please give this some thought. If you don't have the facts at your disposal to respond to the actual claims being made, then maybe you should leave the bulk of the responding to those who do. I'm not saying there is no place for the emotional response, or for pointing out what you see as the ultimate consequences of the views being expressed, or the motivations behind them--but just keep in mind who may be in the audience and how they may react to what you are saying. You may be accomplishing exactly the opposite of what you want.
Jim Lippard lipp...@discord.org http://www.discord.org/
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PGP Fingerprint: 0C1F FE18 D311 1792 5EA8 43C8 7AD2 B485 DE75 841C
Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests 15 aliens in Roswell working for U.S. military contractor
(Via jwz's blog.)
This is beyond frightening. Thank you for this find.
This does not bode well for continued freedom. Franz Kafka would have judged this too wild to fictionalize. But for us - it’s real.
Any chance of Bush rolling some of this back? It sounds amazing on its face.But today, when there's warrantless NSA surveillance that makes the FISA Court look like significant judicial oversight, the comments are like this:
Privacy is a false argument and has been for some time. Your insurance company and the credit bureaus have more on you than the feds do and you can do nothing about it. I would rather be secure knowing that the feds were looking over my shoulder and keeping me safe. I have nothing to hide, and in times of war, these steps are necessary.So when Clinton engages in eavesdropping (rubber stamped by the FISA Court), it's a threat to the republic, but when Bush does it (without any judicial oversight), it's no problem.
Hat tip to Gene Healy at Cato, by way of The Agitator.